Dante's Inferno • Page 2

Feel the burn. 

Beatrice will use any excuse to get her tits out, such as being killed, being dead or being sad that Dante condemned her by fondling someone else's tits (which we get to see too, obviously). In a couple of instances only one of her breasts is shown, which is presumably meant to make you think you're looking at art rather than an excuse to whack in another tit. To balance things out, there are a few enemies who sport huge thorny penises - but they're actually women, as you can tell by their massive tits.

Before everyone starts calling me a mad old feminist lesbian (which I may become if I have to look at many more huge thorny penises), I'm not saying tits should be banned from videogames. Especially not 18-rated ones like Dante's Inferno. I do understand lots of people like tits (though I wonder how many of them really go from six to midnight when the tits are computer-generated, blue and spurting scythe-wielding babies).

I'm saying their use here feels silly, gratuitous and anomalous. It's as if EA hauled in a 14-year-old boy as a consultant and this was his best idea. The tits are not offensive, they're just daft, and not in keeping with the impression of artistic gravitas the game is attempting to generate.

There's a similar problem with the cut-scenes. These are a mixture of Bayeux tapestry-style animated tableaux and simple 2D cartoons, which are excellent, and traditional CGI scenes, which often aren't. They're full of silly dialogue, naff designs, over-the-top special effects and poor lip-synching. Dante's Inferno keeps trying to be a work of art but then panicking and remembering it's a videogame, and ending up a pretty generic one as a result.

At least many of the environments are impressive, particularly early on. The designers have made excellent use of the fire and brimstone at their disposal. There are some great grotesque details, like the doors you open stabbing the demons attached to them. There are lakes of molten gold and rivers of boiling blood, complete with dozens of drowning souls. There are plenty of sheer drops, towering columns and gaping chasms, all of which help create to the sensation that you are indeed on a vertical descent.

The best magic attack is Lust Storm, which is accompanied by orgasmic moans and should really be called the Je T'aime Moi Non Plus Combo.

While in a typical action-adventure you mind find yourself climbing walls covered with vines, here you scale boney cages behind which lost souls weep and wail. There's an awful lot of weeping and wailing throughout Dante's Inferno, not to mention regular bouts of dramatic choral howling. The gothic visuals, grisly death animations and harrowing audio effects combine to create an environment which is a pretty horrid and depressing place to be, appropriately.

The problem is you can't really take it all in due to the game's fixed camera. It works well enough from a practical point of view - the angles switch seamlessly and you're never left fighting enemies you can't see. But you can't use the right stick to look around, no matter how spectacular the scene. This is frustrating and makes the game feel dated, particularly if you're used to having such freedoms in games like Uncharted and Assassin's Creed.

The other issue is that as the game progresses, it all starts to look a bit samey. Stabbing demons to open doors is a novelty at first; 19 doors later it's become a time-consuming interruption, and you can't help wishing they'd just put a switch in. All the weeping and wailing gets a bit much and the choral howling begins to repeat itself. Those environmental details begin to crop up too often - once you've rappelled down one wall of suppurating fire-breathing rectums, you've rappelled down them all.

The repetition really kicks in during the last few levels. The penultimate circle is simply a series of arenas in which you must complete a series of boring challenges - defeat all the enemies, defeat all the enemies without using magic, defeat all the enemies except this time there's more of them, and so on. Every arena looks pretty much the same and all the enemies have featured in previous levels. You might think this is training preparation for the epic, hardcore final circle - but without wishing to spoil anything, you might be disappointed.

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About the author

Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson

Contributor  |  elliegibson

Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.


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